John Solomon Reports: Just before Christmas 2015, the British intelligence operative Christopher Steele emailed a report to private clients that included an American lawyer for a Ukrainian oligarch.
The title of the dossier was “FIRTASH Abortive Return to Ukraine,” and it purported to provide intelligence on why the energy oligarch Dmitri Firtash tried, but failed, to return to his home country of Ukraine.
“FIRTASH’s talk of returning to Ukraine a genuine ambition rather than merely a ruse to reveal Ukrainian government’s hand. However the oligarch developed cold feet upon the news of a negative reception at Boryspil airport,” Steele reported on Dec. 23, 2015.
Perhaps most important to the recipients, the former MI6 agent’s report purported to share the latest thinking of Russian and U.S. officials on Firtash, who at the time faced U.S. criminal charges and was awaiting extradition from Austria.
Those charges and extradition remain unresolved four years later. Firtash insists on his innocence, while the U.S. government stands by it case despite recent criticism from Austrian and Spanish authorities.
“The prevarication over his return has lost FIRTASH credibility with the Russians, but his precarious position in Austria leaves him little choice but to acquiesce with Moscow’s demands,” the Steele report claimed. “Separate American sources confirm that US Government regards FIRTASH as a conduit for Russian influence and he remains a pariah to the Americans.”
The anecdote of the Firtash report underscores that challenges the FBI faced when it used Steele in 2016 as a human source in the Russia collusion probe.
He not only opposed Trump and was paid by Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm to dig up dirt on the then-GOP nominee, he also was in the business of selling intelligence to private clients – all perfectly legal — while informing for the FBI. read more